Adults often look at the younger generation with a combination of bewilderment and horror over the way they conduct themselves on a day-to-day basis. Shaking our heads quietly (or not so quietly) we wonder, “What’s the matter with them? What’s the matter with kids these days?”
(For someone like myself who has been in the business of working with children this can become even more pronounced, as every year of getting older, the kids stay the same age. So, back in the earlier part of my career the gap between a 15 year old and myself, was maybe 15 years or so. Now…well, let’s leave that out of the discussion. Let’s just say the gap is considerably wider.)
When it comes to children and their issues, it’s important to keep perspective, which is often not easy to do.
With that in mind, the following should help us keep a perspective as we shake our collective head:
— “We live in a decaying age. Young people no longer respect their parents. They are rude and impatient. They frequently inhabit places they shouldn’t and have no self-control.” (An inscription found in a 6,000-year-old Ancient Egyptian tomb.)
— “When I was young, we were taught to be discreet and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly disrespectful and impatient of restraint.” (Hesiod, 8th Century BCE)
— “Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents; chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.” (Socrates, 469 BCE)
— “The world is passing through troubled times. The young people of today think of nothing but themselves. They have no reverence for parents or old age. They are impatient of all restraint. They talk as if they knew everything, and what passes for wisdom with us is foolishness with them. As for the girls, they are forward, immodest, and unladylike in speech, behavior and dress.” (From a sermon preached by Peter the Hermit in A.D. 1274)
— “Children are natural mimics—they act like their parents in spite of every attempt to teach them good manners.” (Mad Magazine, circa 1963)
Or as the Talking Heads said in their classic song, “Once in a Lifetime,” stated, “Same as it ever was. Same as it ever was.”
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